I have a daughter and I've supported her for three years. Her mother now claims she isn't mine and has told me to stay away. I don't know what to do since I'm not on the birth certificate and never took a paternity test. What can I do to stay in my daughter's life?
(N.W, 5 November 2008)
You’re in a very unfortunate situation, and one not to be wished on anyone, since you obviously love your daughter. Your first step should be to Consult A Solicitor. Having given financial support and had it accepted might help, although unfortunately you might well be at the legal mercy of something called Parental Responsibility.
From the sound of things, you weren’t married to your daughter’s mother. If you had been, you’d automatically have Parental Responsibility.
However, since you apparently weren’t, the only ways to gain that status are to be named on the birth certificate (which you weren’t), to later marry the mother, for both of you to sign a Parental Responsibility agreement, for you to become your daughter’s guardian, or for you to obtain a Residence Order for your daughter from the court.
There is one other way, though, and that’s for the court to grant you a Parental Responsibility order, and this is the area you should explore with your solicitor.
With three years of support that was accepted by the mother, and especially if you lived together before and after your daughter was born (although that’s not necessary) you might be able to establish a legal case.
You should be aware, though, that it won’t be easy, especially if your ex fights it, as she might from the indications you’ve given. You definitely need to check with your solicitor as to whether you can insist on a paternity test to establish if you really are your daughter’s father or not. If that can happen and you prove to be the father, on top of the three years of support payments, you might well have a case in court.
In the meantime, your options are very limited. Your ex is the one with Parental Responsibility, and as you currently have no legal rights at all regarding your daughter, you’re left without a leg to stand on. That’s why it’s so important that you do see a solicitor as soon as possible, then sit down with him to discuss the avenues that might be open to you, although it will likely cost you money to pursue them.
Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.
i am just separating from my partner. we have got 2 boys a 3 years old and 19 months old. i am moving into a rent flat and i want to be able to have the boys once or twice in a week. i would like to know which are my right as single father. have you got any guide that can help me with this, please?
hermes - 14-Mar-17 @ 11:41 AM
Helpless mother - Your Question:
My dauhter is 13 and I have been struggling with her grades and negitive attitude and disrespect towards myself her mother, grandmother and step dad for the last 2 years. I have talked to her teachers and school counsler and even started taking her to a professional to try to help us figure out a solution. Anyways the last year or so she started going to visit her dad and just recently started saying she wanted to go live with him especially when she had to folow rules or got punished for refusing to cooperate with rules or not doing homework and failing classes. The punishment would consist of losing I phone or tablet for short periods of time. So one day she kept sYing she was going to go move with her dad, so I told her go ahead and do it but I did not think she would and then I thiught if I told hsr she had to move schools she aould change her mind so I disenrolled her and her dad went and reenrolled her back into the same s hool so now I want hef back and I dont know how to do it. Her dad is not listed on birth certificate and has not been in her life up until a year ago.
I'm afraid it may be more difficult than you think and much depends upon whether your daughter wishes to come back to live with you, as now she is 13 her opinion will count in court. I can only suggest you seek legal advice to see what your options are. However,the court would have to have a very good reason for making the decision to return your child to you as it will always decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child, and being settled and having a consistent home life is one.
SeparatedDads - 13-Sep-16 @ 2:36 PM
My dauhter is 13 and i have been struggling with her grades and negitive attitude and disrespect towards myself her mother, grandmother and step dad for the last 2 years. I have talked to her teachers and school counsler and even started taking her to a professional to try to help us figure out a solution. Anyways the last year or so she started going to visit her dad and just recently started saying she wanted to go live with him especially when she had to folow rules or got punished for refusing tocooperate with rules or not doing homework and failing classes. The punishment would consist of losing i phone or tablet for short periods of time. So one day she kept sYing she was going to go move with her dad, so i told her go ahead and do it but i did not think she would and then i thiught if i told hsr she had to move schools she aould change her mind so i disenrolled her and her dad went and reenrolled her back into the same s hool so now i want hef back and i dont know how to do it. Her dad is not listed on birth certificate and has not been in her life up until a year ago.
Helpless mother - 13-Sep-16 @ 7:32 AM
@MrSmiths - I am sorry to hear this. I'm sure it will sort itself out, as you say it sounds a storm in a tea-cup. However, while you see your ex's daughter as your own flesh and blood, your ex may have a different view on this and you will really have to respect this view regardless of how you feel emotionally. You will also have to respect your daughter's views on whether she wants to come and stay, and perhaps approach it by re-inforcing your love for her, but leaving it up to her regarding whether she wishes to come along or not. However, for the moment, I would let things settle down a touch and then approach your ex cautiously and perhaps try to talk through the situation rationally and objectively and without it getting heated. If you can't agree between yourselves, another option may be mediation, see link Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? link here. Should your daughter profess a wish to see you, and your ex refuses completely, then you may be able to gain access through the courts as access to step-children can be considered when it comes to keeping the family together. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 15-Jul-15 @ 11:53 AM
My ex and I met when her Daughter 8 months old (her father had disappeared into the night!). I already had a 3 year old daughter from a previous marriage. I quickly moved in an by her first birthday I was actively involved in her up bringing and soon became 'Dad'.
We went on to have a son 2 years later. I had my daughter once overnight during the week and also once over night on weekends. All the kids have been raised as brother and sister and all call me dad. We even changed her surname to my surname so she matched my other two kids.
A year later I split with my ex and had to move back to my mums house. I maintained the same contact but now with all the kids. All coming on Tuesday nights and a night at weekend.
Its been 3 years since the split. I have recently got married and have been enjoying a few years of relatively hassle free access to the kids. Until....the ex is now 8.5 months pregnant to her new fella whom has been generally ok.
There have been several occasions recently where my ex tells me my daughter doesn't want to come, has other things arranged or has been invited elsewhere by friends. I complained and asked her in future to clear it with me first as we have so far had to cancel 3 days trips and a camping holiday due to these unforseen events that crop up.
Having complained on Friday, I was met with a barrage of abuse and voilent threats from her new man. The ex and her fella stipulated I'm not her Daughters father, I never have been and I am going to have nothing to do with her moving forwards. If I try to pursue the issue I'm going to be 'dealt with' by her fella.
To be told after seven years of being a childs parent that I can no longer be her Dad nor can my other daughter or my family members have contact with her is gut wrenching and makes me despair.
She has not and probably would not attempt to withhold my son from me as she knows I can file for access through courts, but with my daughter essentially being my step daughter, I'm unsure what I can do.
I know it's probably her baby brain scattering her emotions everywhere and things will eventually die down, but she is the most stubborn woman I have ever know and would promptly cut her own nose of and make the kids suffer just to spite me.
Confused, hurt, angry and desperate to keep my family together.
MrSmiths - 13-Jul-15 @ 10:23 AM
@Dan - I am very sorry to hear this. However, your wife has no right to claim 75% of your salary. It seems that this might be one of those cases where she is about to use your daughter as a weapon. Firstly, she can not move back to her home country unless you give consent, as this would be termed as abduction. See link : What is Abduction? here to see whether this applies to you. As far as your child maintenance is concerned, then you can work out how much you owe via the Child Maintenance Options calculator here. If you wish to see your daughter, and your wife denies your access, then you should go through the motions via When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here . You can self-litigate in court too, if you might find the legal fees too much, see link here. You need to do as much research as you can to help your case and our Separated Dads Facebook page may give you some support. I think the main thing is to build the confidence so as not let your ex make such demands. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jun-15 @ 1:45 PM
My wife and I are separating and she is demanding half of my salary for child support and maintenance.She is demanding a letter from me agreeing to this by the end of this week or she will go for 75% of my salary.She is demanding I pay for the rent of a house for her and my daughter, take out a loan to buy a car for her, pay private school fees for my daughter, and give her a monthly allowance.She says that she has a legal right to 75% of my salary.This is going to make it very difficult for me to survive myself.They are moving back to her home country next month, and I am currently working overseas.I am not on a big salary, and the cost of living here is very expensive.If she takes 75% of my salary, I won't even be able to pay for my accommodation, let alone food and bills.I desperately need help in this matter.She is very violent, and I fear that if I don't give her what she wants that things will get ugly.I am unable to seek legal advice here, as it is very expensive.The stress is getting too much worrying about how I am going to afford anything, and how I am going to be able to see my daughter on a regular basis.My daughter is very unhappy that I cannot see her every week.I don't know what to do
Dan - 19-Jun-15 @ 12:58 PM
@Padds - this is a very complicated situation, but there seems to be a lot of positives that may come out of this, and it's good that you have her ex on your side, he sounds like a decent man. If you want to avoid legal fees, you can self-litigate, see Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself here. The Bar Council also has some good information on this, see link here. A lot of fathers are taking this route and having a good amount of success if they research and prepare their case/arguments properly. You may also be able to some free advice from a McKenzie Friend, see article: Using a McKenzie Friend in Court, link here. Wishing you good luck in having future contact with your son.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jun-15 @ 1:54 PM
Hi I could really do with some advice to point me in the right direction. I'm in a rather complex situation. I had an affair which resulted in a son being born. At the time his mother said he wasn't mine, so carried on with life and zero contact with her or the boy. Just before Christmas 2012 she contacted me to say that actually he was my son so we had initial discussions on how to move forward and agreed to speak a couple of days later. Before that happened she contacted me to say that her & her new partner wanted me to have nothing to do with the childs upbringing. I felt backed into a corner and unwillingly agreed. Fast forward to early 2015 and her partner (who was now an ex-partner) contacted me. The mother had lied to me about him not wanting me to have contact AND also lied to him saying that I didn't want to know at all and was a drug addict who would harm my son & generally not be a good person to be around him. What makes it more complicated is that my son is actually now a care of the court after some evidence/cause for concern of abuse against her was found. The ex-partner went to the court though and asked if he can care for my son and keep him with his half-brother rather than a foster home. Now I get on with this guy and he's keen for me to begin contact & try to catch up on the near 7 years now that I lost. I'm not listed on his birth certificate so the SS want me to go to court to request a dna test to prove paternity and request contact. The case worker was happy with me when she did a pre-interview and also given my positive relationship with his step-dad to drag it through the seems unnecessary as all parties are co-operative apart from the mother. I've tried to find template letters online to avoid solicitors costs but had no joy so far. All advice welcome.
Padds - 9-Jun-15 @ 12:34 AM
@K23 - this is a common problem and if you look on our Separated Dads Facebook page a question was recently posted on the same subject, which may give you and your partner some helpful advice to address these issues. Does he have a contact order? It might be that he has to push it through the courts, in order to get some established routine. The courts don't take kindly to women using children as a weapon. On another note I suggest your partner pays his ex money via bank transfer, or by cheque rather than cash, as it always helps to have evidence that he is paying her directly, because as it currently stands it is purely her word against is that he is contributing. You might be interested in our other Separated Dads page When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access link here.
SeparatedDads - 19-Dec-14 @ 10:10 AM
Hi, I could do with some advice, my partner has a 3 year old from a previous relationship, we've been together for nearly 2 years and the mother of the child plays God with her and if he doesn't bow down to her or if he upsets her in anyway then she stops him seeing his little girl. Me and the mother have got history and ive managed to put my differences to one side for the sake of the child however she hates me being in her daughters life and uses that against him too. I'm not one of these people that puts everything on the Internet when we have her daughter to rub it in her face and I don't need to be another parent right now I just want to be his daughter friend. We are absolutely sick of it now and it's really affecting the relationship. He's on the birth certificate and pays maintenance (cash to the mother) and really does do everything he can for his daughter but we just don't know what the next step is cause he's hating the fact that she just stops him seeing her when she feels like it. Please help.
K23 - 18-Dec-14 @ 3:31 PM
Ss will not let me see my baby girl they keep stoping my countact and i dont no what to do bout it
dazz - 10-Apr-14 @ 6:33 PM
I really need help, my daughter will be 13 in July, I haven't seen her since 2001, I'm not an innocent party, however my partner at the time slept with my friend, they ran off together. The shirt story is, I tracked them down to my ex's address, my daughter wasn't there, she was at her nans, I beat the guy up pretty bad, I was only about 18, I was so angry because I knew he used heroin, and I knew my partner at the time had used it before, I've never used it and I never would, I was angry that he would be around my daughter, that's why I beat him up. Anyway I got arrested and was fined and did community service, since that day I have never been in trouble with the police, I have a good job, I'm actually getting married this Saturday. The thing is, my ex did indeed start using drugs after we split up, and my daughter was taken off her, she was placed into care and later adopted, my family were never consulted about this, I'm mad with myself for not doing anything sooner, but I want to be a dad to my daughter, I have grown into a good guy, I care about people, I want my daughter back and I want to love her and try and explain to her what happened. My family are good people too, I just can't see why they were not consulted before my daughter was adopted, I'm not and I never was a violent person, the only thing I ever did wrong was to beat up my so called friend, for sleeping with my girlfriend in my own bed. I really need help.
Rob - 9-Apr-13 @ 12:35 AM
Hi my daughter is 4 next month, I have been there from day 1 and payed maintainance from day one and I am also on the birthcertificate, I never married my ex, I had pay pay for a court order to see my daughter just recently but now she is asking for a dna test, the courts said I do not have to have one because to my daughter I'm her dad, but now my ex is saying she has had a dna done with another man and my child and he is the father so she says, just wondering what rights do I have if that really happend and would I lose my daughter